Yengeni, Niehaus to face misconduct charges along with Magashule
ANC national executive committee member (NEC) Tony Yengeni and MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus will face charges of misconduct along with suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte announced on Tuesday that the national working committee had resolved that the three leaders be probed and charges be prepared against them over their “unbecoming, divisive and defiant behavior”.
This comes as Magashule remains defiant against his suspension which he is challenging at the South Gauteng High Court next week.
Yengeni and Niehaus, who are staunch backers of Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma, slammed the ANC NEC for suspending him and reiterated their support for his defiance against the “step aside” rule.
Magashule was suspended after he refused to abide by the ANC’s "step aside" rule in which all those formally charged for corruption and other serious crimes, but he and his supporters have rejected it as a ploy to target him.
While his suspension imposed political restrictions, including a ban from addressing gatherings and speaking on behalf of the party, Magashule defiantly joined his allies last week as they attended the rally in support of Zuma, whose corruption trial is underway before the Pietermaritzburg high court.
Magashule told the crowds that he would not be stopped from political activity.
“Nobody under a democracy will ban me. Nobody will remove the ANC from me,” Magashule said.
Duarte said the ANC’s national presenter, a person appointed by the party to investigate and present its case during disciplinary proceedings, had been given the green light to prepare charges against the three.
“The NWC has asked the presenter to provide charges,” she said.
Duarte said while the process to institute charges against errant members took longer, the party was forced to ensure due process to avoid being dragged to court by those aggrieved.
“It might look obvious and it might look artificial at this point to you, but if we don’t follow the rules very strictly we end up in unnecessary litigation,” Duarte said.
Duarte said the ANC presenter would, however, not refer the outcomes of the probe to the party’s NEC but that he would begin to draft charges against them.
“If there is a genuine charge in terms of the rule 25 of our constitution, then they would confer a charge on a person,” she said.
She said the three leaders would be given the right to respond within three weeks after they received their charge sheet explaining why they should not be charged, following which they would be subjected to a disciplinary action.
Duarte said while the ANC had set up an appeal committee for those who wanted to oppose decisions of the integrity commission, there was no appeal process for the “step-aside” rule and temporary suspension as section 25 of the party’s constitution did not create room for it.
“Rule 25.70 does not have an appeals process. Unfortunately, we must just assert that very properly to you. It is the only protective clause in the constitution of the ANC that is protective towards the ANC. It is not punitive but precautionary.”
Meanwhile, ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said all those who had been told by the provincial leadership to step aside from the province had complied, including former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, and that none of them had indicated plans to take the contentious rule to court.
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